Decisions That Shaped America

Someone recently told me, to my disagreement, that I was a historian. Though, I must confess that only second to my love of reading and studying the Bible is my fascination with history. I am a student of history and the way past events and decisions have shaped our culture and present way of thinking and doing things, whether they be right or wrong, good or bad, every practice, belief, fad, or trend started or originated at a place and time called yesterday. In my column today, I want to briefly consider some major decisions of yesterday that have helped to determine and shape some of the important issues that we are presently contending with in our nation today.

The Women’s Right to Vote
One of the major landmark legislations enacted by Congress back on August 18, 1920, was the 19th Amendment that gave women the right to vote. After many grueling years of protesting by the suffrage movement, women had finally earned the right to vote. Thanks to the diligent and untiring efforts of people like Susan B. Anthony, Alice Paul, Elizabeth Stanton, and Lucy Stone, the political landscape of America would never be the same. What many male chauvinists (some of whom even mockingly declared that women were not intelligent or objective enough to vote) had feared, had happened. The 19th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America changed the way that many politicians had campaigned in the past and forced them to consider family and women issues that they had either downplayed or completely ignored.

The Toughest Decision of Any Commander-in-Chief
I agree with the consensus of many historians and scholars that the President who had to make the toughest decision of any who had ever occupied the Oval Office was President Harry S. Truman. As Commander-in-Chief, he wrestled with the thought of dropping the first atomic bomb on Japan because of the great destruction and loss of untold thousands of lives it would instantly inflict upon two Japanese cities. After being told and advised by his military experts that an attempt to invade and subdue the Japanese Army on their homeland would cost the lives of from five hundred thousand to one million lives (not to count the millions of Japanese soldiers and civilians who would die in the process), President Truman made the decision to drop the bomb, ushering in the age of atomic and nuclear warfare. Though history has honored him for making the right decision, many of us whose fathers and grandfathers fought in the Pacific theater of World War II may not have been born if our fathers had been killed in the invasion and we owe him a thanks of gratitude. Nevertheless, the dark side of President Truman’s decision is that from that fateful moment on, we lived in the dread of a nuclear holocaust that could bring humanity and our entire civilization to the brink of extinction and ruin.

Brown versus The Board of Education
One of the most important decisions that helped to alter the landscape of our nation, especially from an educational perspective, was the landmark decision ruled on by the Supreme Court in 1954 in the case of Brown versus The Board of Education in Topeka, Kansas. In the ruling, the court determined that state law across the nation establishing separate schools for black and white students was unconstitutional. This decision was momentous and it gave black students the right and opportunity to get an equal education along with their white counterparts. No longer would African-American children be educationally victimized in the South and certain other parts of the nation with hand-me-down books and material that were often obsolete, torn, and ragged.

The Little Seamstress
Who Gave Birth to the Civil Rights Movement
Little did Mrs. Rosa Parks know when she left home to catch the bus on December 1, 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama, that a decision she would make on this day would spark a national movement and catapult her into international fame and an honored place in history as the Mother of the Civil Rights Movement. When the white bus driver, James F. Blake, asked Mrs. Parks to give up her seat in the colored section that was situated behind where the whites only section ended, she refused. It was the racist and unfair policy of the bus company to ask blacks to give up their seats for whites when there was no room in the white section for them. Mrs. Rosa Parks, evidently on this day, being guided by providence and her bold decision not to comply with the Jim Crow policy and practice of the Montgomery City Bus Department was handcuffed and taken to jail. Had they, the powers that be, known that their response to Mrs. Parks’ refusal to capitulate would cause such a protest that would become the impetus for the Civil Rights Movement, they would no doubt had left her alone.

The Removal of
Prayer from Public Schools
In 1962, the Supreme Court of the United States voted to prohibit prayer in public schools. In my estimation, this was a judicial blunder that may have been insidiously inspired by the rulers of the darkness of this world. When a devout atheist named Madalyn Murray O’Hair almost single handedly was able to remove prayer out of school, there is little doubt in my mind that she both caught the church world sleeping and was inspired by the devil. Her diabolical, hell-bent effort ultimately lead to the Engels versus Vitale Case of 1962 that made prayer in our public schools illegal and unconstitutional. Can the failing of many of the public schools in America be a part of the grave consequences of this decision? Have our educational system plummeted and now ranks very low in certain crucial academic areas like science and mathematics because our Supreme Court decided to expel and remove God from our public schools?

Roe versus Wade
In the year of 1972, our Supreme Court, which often operates as a judicial oligarchy, again made a decision that has both altered our culture and deprived us of millions of future citizens that only God knows what some could be doing now. The decision that came forth from Roe versus Wade, which legalized abortions, was inhumane and downright demonic. I am still grappling in my mind with the thought of how intelligent, educated, and some supposing God-fearing people could render such a brutal decision with no regard for human life in its early stages. When Shakespeare’s character Mark Anthony (in his historical play) declared that, “Men have become brutish beasts and have lost their reason,” certainly can be said of certain members of our Supreme Court in their decision to legalize abortion. Though I am not an admirer of our present Commander-in-Chief and especially his propensity for fabrications and falsities, I pray that some of the good that will come out of his tenure as President will be the appointment of a Supreme Court Justice who will replace retired Justice Kennedy and vote with the other conservative and pro-life judges on the bench to overturn Roe versus Wade and make it illegal and unconstitutional to butcher and murder the unborn. This horrible decision back in 1972 has indeed altered our culture and deprived us of many gifted, talented, and law abiding, tax paying citizens who could be making an impact for the advancement of our nation. Who knows whether or not in the sixty millions who have been aborted there was not another Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Jonas Salk, George Washington Carver, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr., Mark Twain, Louis Armstrong, or Billy Graham? Yes, there have been decisions that were made both good and bad that have altered our culture for better or worse.